UCC Postgraduate courses

Academic Discourse & Skills - International Master's Pathway

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Academic Discourse & Skills - International Master's Pathway

  • Code


  • College

    Adult Continuing Education, Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    9 Months (1 Academic Year)

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees

    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees


  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements vary depending on your chosen master’s programme. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    30 June 2023

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    30 June 2023

  • Start Date

    September 2023

Course Outline

The Higher Diploma in Academic Discourse and Skills - International Master’s Pathway (IMP) is aimed at the pre-masters student seeking to meet the required academic qualification and/or the English language level for automatic progression to their chosen destination programme. The IMP is open to conditional offer holders for participating programmes.

We have built an academic programme around the International Master's Pathway so that you will work towards a Level 8 Major Award: the Higher Diploma in Academic Discourse and Skills. The 60-credit Higher Diploma consists of Language Centre core modules in academic discourse and skills (worth 40 credits), and final-year undergraduate modules (worth 20 credits) from your chosen master's programme.

Successful completion of the pathway will enable you to convert to a full offer by raising your undergraduate level by one class (3:1 to 2:2 or 2:2 to 2:1) and/or language level by the equivalent to one band of IELTS (IELTS 5.5 to 6.5 or 6.0 to 7.0) for example.

Master’s Pathway Track

Select the Track for your chosen programme to find out more about its IMP entry requirements, progression requirements, and the undergraduate final year modules on offer.

  • College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Studies
Arts Management & Creative Producing MA Track
Asian Studies MA Track
Criminology MA Track
English: Modernities: Literature, Theory & Culture from the Romantics to the Present MA Track
English: Texts and Contexts - Medieval to Renaissance MA Track
Medieval History: Culture, Text, Image MA Track
Philosophy MA Track
Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages  MA Track
Translation Studies  MA Track 
  • College of Science, Engineering and Food Science 
Geology - Applied Environmental Geoscience   MSc Track 
  • College of Business and Law  
Business Economics   MSc Track 
Law (Environmental & Natural Resources Law)   LLM Track  
  • College of Medicine and Health  
Nursing (Non-EU)  MSc Track    
Occupational Health (Online)  MSc Track
Public Health   MPH Track 

Course Practicalities

In addition to the modules being taken or audited, you will also have the opportunity to engage with various UCC campus activities including workshops or talks from services such as the UCC Library, the UCC Skills Centre and the UCC Students' Union

The Higher Diploma in Academic Discourse and Skills - IMP at UCC will provide you with thorough preparation for your chosen master’s programme, and will help you to understand the specific cultures and contexts of the academic community at our University.

All our Pathway students will produce an independent research project, an interdisciplinary mini-research group project based on the UCC postgraduate community, and will also participate in weekly academic reading and discussion circles. There is a high degree of individualisation, guidance and support in the programme, and you will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of academic activities across the university.

All IMP students will take modules worth 60 credits including 40 credits of Language Centre core modules and 20 credits of undergraduate (UG) programme modules.

Language Centre Modules (40 credits)

  • LC5001 Independent Research Project I (15 credits)
  • LC5002 Research Methods: Interdisciplinary Project (10 credits)
  • LC5003 Critical Disciplinary Approaches (5 credits) 
  • LC5004 Independent Research Project II (10 credits)

Undergraduate Modules (20 credits)

See the Track for your chosen programme above to find out more about the undergraduate modules on offer. 

Contact Time

We envisage a maximum of 20 hours of contact time per week. In addition, you will attend individual tutorials for up to 20 minutes every two weeks. Your learning schedule should allow for 8-10 hours per week of independent research and learning.

Assessment Types

Language Centre Core Modules

The assessment model for Language Centre core modules is continuous and there are no final examinations. Continuous assessment can include the following tasks:

  • 5000-word independent research project
  • Presentations (both individual and group)
  • Reflective learning journals
  • Linguistic and critical analysis of lectures
  • Annotated bibliography
  • Leading and participating in seminars
  • Interdisciplinary mini-research group project

Undergraduate Core Modules

Assessment types will vary depending on your chosen master’s degree programme and the modules on offer. See the track for your chosen programme to find out more about the undergraduate final-year modules on offer. 

Why Choose This Course

  • If you are eligible and are accepted for this pathway you will be guaranteed a place on your chosen master’s course if you meet the progression requirements and successfully complete the IMP.
  • This is an innovative new programme which will immerse you in UCC's life and culture. We offer a high level of student support and individualisation of learning.
  • This programme will build on your skills, knowledge and experience; it also gives you the opportunity to become accustomed to your department and the university in advance of starting your master’s programme at UCC.

Higher Diploma in Academic Discourse and Skills - IMP

  • This is more than just a standard pathway: you can also work towards a major award from UCC, the level 8 Higher Diploma in Academic Discourse and Skills. On successful completion of this programme, you will gain the Higher Diploma in Academic Discourse & Skills even if you do not progress to a master’s.

Course Content & Structure

  • This is a new and innovative programme with special research projects and academic activities that support your connections across the campus to help you feel a sense of belonging to the UCC community.
  • We offer a high degree of individualisation for you as you prepare for the transition to master’s study.
  • You will improve your academic skills and language skills at the same time as pursuing your academic programme.
  • You will gain the academic language and skills you need for success and build on your disciplinary knowledge.
  • You will start your master’s feeling fully prepared, having been at UCC working in your chosen discipline for a full academic year.

Student Experience

Cork is a great place to live and this programme is an opportunity to make friends and become integrated into the academic community and culture! 

In UCC you will be welcomed into the participating programme community. We encourage you to immerse yourself in UCC's life and culture and we will provide you with guidance and support along the way.

Female in yellow jacket on a bicycle cycling past the Alchemy coffee shop on Barrack Street in Cork. Two females are sitting outside the coffeeshop drinking coffee and chatting.


Requirements depend upon your chosen master's degree. See Master’s Pathway Track above and choose your Track for degree-specific requirements. In general, the following minimum requirements apply:

Academic Qualification Minimum Requirements

  • Undergraduate equivalent to 3.1 - if progressing onto a programme that requires 2.2
  • Undergraduate equivalent to 2.2 - if progressing onto a programme that requires 2.1

Language Proficiency Minimum Entry Requirements

  • For programmes that require an overall 6.5 for entry: 5.5 IELTS (CEFR B2) overall with a minimum of 5.5 (CEFR B2) in any skill if progressing onto a programme that requires a 6.5 overall.
  • For programmes that require an overall 7.0 for entry: 6.0 IELTS (CEFR B2+) overall with a minimum of 6.0 (CEFR B2+).

Recognition of Prior Learning

The accepted types of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) will be dependent on the chosen master’s degree programme on a case-by-case basis.  

Fees and Costs

The total cost is €12,500.


If on completion of the course you meet the progression requirements (exit grade and any other requirements) for your chosen postgraduate master’s programme, you will receive a scholarship from the relevant participating college. 

College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences 25% reduction in fees
College of Science, Engineering and Food Science 20% reduction in fees

How Do I Apply

Applications for the Higher Diploma in Academic Discourse and Skills - International Master’s Pathway (IMP) are not open yet (unless you have already applied for a Master's programme.) If you are interested in the International Master’s Pathway please Register your Interest and we will be in touch.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme as follows:

  • You will be asked to enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.
  • You will be asked, in addition to your previously declared qualifications, to outline any additional academic courses, self-learning, and professional training relevant to this programme.
  • You will be asked to describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.
  • You will be asked to detail your computing/technical/IT skills.

The closing date for non-EU applications is 30 June 2023

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact